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'Mbusi is strong, taller and beatable'

Big talking Studdard looking far ahead to Gauteng, SA champs

Joshua Studdard, L, with Morapedi Khotle during their Junior Bantamweight fight at Emperors Palace in Ekurhuleni. Studdard plans to stop Mawande Mbusi in the early stages of their fight.
Joshua Studdard, L, with Morapedi Khotle during their Junior Bantamweight fight at Emperors Palace in Ekurhuleni. Studdard plans to stop Mawande Mbusi in the early stages of their fight.
Image: Antonio Muchave

It will be an honour for Mawande Mbusi to lose to him in their six-rounder, Joshua “TKO” Studdard, the assertive boxer from Sophiatown, boasted yesterday.

“I watched one of his fights. He’s strong and a little taller than me but he is beatable, since he is fighting TKO, after all, not just a palooka,” said Studdard.

“He can leave with a smile on his face after losing to me because he will have a big name in his CV.”

Studdard, who is under the guidance of the one of the country’s best boxing tutors, Manny Fernandes, says he is gunning for the South African bantamweight belt that is held by Ronald Malindi.

“I want to start by winning the Gauteng belt from Layton Gloss and then go [for] the SA champion,” he explained.

“I think it will be best for all these champions to relinquish their title and hand them over to me to prevent [a] severe beating. I don’t know why do people like to do things the hard way. I can talk like this because I am not afraid of any one of them.”

Studdard has not fought since March 20 2020 when he defeated Saul Hlungwane on points in their non-title fight. His comeback bout against Mbusi will take place at Booysens Gym and will form part of BRD Promotion’s tournament to be headlined by Ludumo “9mm” Lamati's WBC Africa junior-lightweight title fight against Tanzanian Haidari “Blue Fire Stone” Mchanjo.

But the tournament planned for May 22 is subject to BSA’s approval.

“I’ve been pushing my body to the limit; I did not have a lot time in terms of preparations but enough to get strong and fit,” said Studdard.

“I have to come back with a bang because myself and Manny have got big plans.”

The tournament has been dubbed “Redemption Day”.

“I get to redeem myself for being out of action for a long time. Mbusi is not an easy opponent, it is just that I am a good fighter. He will know that he is fighting me once I hit him in the face,” said Studdard.

“Everything that is meant to be will be. This is my way back to the ratings.”

Wade Groth, who has not fought since 2019 after being stopped in the first round by John “Section 29” Bopape, is pencilled in to face Diko Mukanya from Congo over six rounds in the middleweight division. There will be four more undercard fights.

Action on May 22 is scheduled to commence at 2pm.

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